Wild food course this weekend past.
So with the BTCV i helped run my first wild food course this weekend over in helsby (the quarry) and also a local farmer who works with the btcv and has a huge amount of land for his famous red poll beef.
we decided to do a half day forage then retire back to BTCV's kitchen garden and pick some extra's to make some soups and whatnot.
did a preliminary walk on thursday to get a feel for what was out there, quite surprised tbh at the amount left out there, i was thinking everything would have pretty much gone into shut down with the crazy dry summer we've had.
In the end we managed to forage a large amount of rose hips, plenty of elderberries, ground elder, Fresh jack by the hedge and quite fantastically a huge amount of the seeds from a large patch that had gone over, we had access to two apple tree's one of a russet variety and another which was juicy and green, we found mountains of damsons and most people took plenty home with gin in mind or jam. We did find a large amount of mushrooms too, on the farmers land he knows where they regularly grow, after a mooch we ended up with a good sized giant puffball (there were others but they'd already turned) lots of jews ear fungus and a good selection of field mushrooms.
there were some other mushrooms but we stayed well clear as i could not be sure of ident, although one was quite possibly a death cap, we did find some amanita muscaria (fly agaric) and learned from one of the attendee's that her friend dries and grinds it and swears by it for sore throats, i mean i guess once you start seeing pixies you wouldn't care about the sore throat
we also got a small amount of cleaver seeds and japanese quinces (garden escapee methinks)
anyhoo with a rather large collection we headed to the kitchen garden picked a random selection of veg including some flippin HUGE onions, one was a good 8" across i kid you not.
between the group we made 4 soups, using potato, leek, onion, turnip, chard and runner bean. we used the wild mustard seed for some kick after grinding in a pestle and mortar and set about using the wilds for other stuff, we made a mushroom soup which turned out fantastic even tho we didn't have a blender (very tasty indeed) there was an apple, elderberry and quince crumble, we also did a rosehip and elderberry crumble and we toasted the cleaver seeds and popped em through a coffee grinder and gave that a go, everyone was pleasently suprised and i'm now on a mission to make myself some cleaver coffee for the coming winter.
all in all everyone had a blast and got a full belly whilst learning lots about what was about in the woods, someone did point out some wonderfu lookingl berries, but the purple leaves really gave it away and sure enough it was nightshade!!
a rather successful day methinks and even i was surprised by what was still about.
He who asks a question may look stupid for 5 minutes but he who doesn’t ask will be stupid for the rest of his life
- Japanese Proverb.